The Dice Game That Lasted 43 Days

            We started out from New York in the chill of the year, March. Before the ships got past the Statue of Liberty somebody hollered:  "Let's shoot some dice."  Within minutes, a dice game was started. As far as anyone knows, the same game continued,  night and day, for 43  days.  What a game. What money. 

            We had had a pay day just before leaving Fort Dix.  Everyone had at least a few dollars.  But in the nearly-perpetual crap game, they were always the same bills. They changed  hands often.  They were crammed into  pockets by cold fingers as we steamed down the Atlantic  coast.            Then, as we entered the  sub-tropics and tropics, the  hands became sweaty. So did  the dollar bills.  By the time we sailed past  the Hawaiian Islands the dollar bills were mushy. By the  time we got to Bora Bora in the Society Islands the bills were hardly more than wads of water-soaked paper.  But the crap games continued.  Fortunes were won, lost  and regained. 

            At last we arrived in Australia.  And some had more of those dollar bills than others.  In fact, it would appear  from the money sent to the Jungleer that 15 years later some of the doggies on that long boat ride won enough so that they're still spending  them. 

            There are many other things  to remember about that long, long ride ....  Remember how it felt to eat  your meals standing up at the  long tables in the mess halls?  Remember how few guys  showed up in the mess halls  when the sea got a little rough, especially in the Tasmanian  Sea?   Remember how you got only two meals a day on shipboard  and always smuggled enough out of the dining room to make a sandwich a little later? 

            We sailed out of New York with only a meager supply of  post-exchange items. The result  was that after a week or so the only item you could buy was rolls of candy ... Charms,  they're' called.  Finally, we ate all the  Charms, except for one flavor, coffee. To this day in 1958 most  41st Division men can't stand  the taste of coffee-flavored candy. 

            Some great expressions  were added to the 41st vocabulary  as the result of that ride.  These expressions later rolled  across the hills of Australia  and up the mountainsides of  New Guinea.  They included, "One in the  hot and one in the cold"  (Started by a guy in the Santa  Paula mess hall who was delegated  to keep us moving  through the mess kit wash-up line), and "One dollah ...  One dollah."  The line about one dollar  came from the natives of Bora Bora. They came to the sides  of our ships and offered us  bananas and a few souvenirs.  Everything they offered for  sale was "One dollah ... one  dollah."